Bringing back former Lordstown GM staff is a good thing |  News, Sports, Jobs

Bringing back former Lordstown GM staff is a good thing | News, Sports, Jobs

061621,,,R MACAFEE…Warren…06-16-21…Tribune Chronicle/Vindicator sports editor Greg Macafee…and R. Michael Semple

Last week, former employees of the General Motors Lordstown plant, who are still employed by the company, were given information on how they can return to Lordstown and work at the battery cell plant, Ultium Cells.

What wonderful news it was for the workers who were forced to move from Lordstown more than five years ago after the plant closed and the last Chevrolet Cruze produced at the plant went off the rails. This is not only good news for former Lordstown employees, but also good news for the Mahoning Valley.

I’ve always been a firm believer in “home is where the heart is” and for several employees, the Valley can be that. Roots were raised when the news was delivered that the plant in Lordstown was to be closed and not only the workers were affected. Residents had to leave family and friends, children had to enroll in new schools and people had to start over.

Now all those changes can be deleted.

I remember when I was young and my mother was looking for work in other states. All I wanted to do was stay in the city where I had spent the first 15 or 16 years of my life. I didn’t want to leave my friends, my school, my colleagues at my part-time job and my teammates.

Ultimately we never left the small town I grew up in, but I would do anything to stay if I had to. That’s the situation GM Lordstown employees were presented with and some chose not to go. Some took buyouts and remained in the area, others chose to retire and enter the next chapter of their lives and about 1,200 employees chose to go elsewhere and continue their work. Now they have a chance to make a comeback if Ultium Cells is right.

About 800 workers are due to return to Lordstown, and have six months from March 11 to apply for transfers. The amount to be moved has not yet been determined and the window will close on September 13. Employees will retain their current salaries, benefits and title if they move.

The letter the workers received says workers who are being transferred are not allowed to be transferred to any UAW-GM facility “unless the worker is on the job indefinitely” from Ultium Cells. In short, if an eligible worker is transferred back to Lordstown, they cannot transfer again unless the factory is closed.

But this is where the workers receive the benefits that I believe they deserve. To give employees a better idea of ​​what they are getting into at Ultium Cells, they will be given the opportunity to tour the factory.

According to Josh Ayers, who is the bargaining chair of United Auto Workers Local 1112, there are three days scheduled over the Easter weekend for workers who are eligible to transfer to attend to see if they think their transfer would be a good idea. This way they can have a complete picture of where they are moving, what they will be doing and what kind of environment they will be working in.

According to a letter earlier this month from GM to employees eligible for relocation, the positions that will be created in Lordstown will be for battery cell manufacturing. Work will be available in departments such as electrode, cell manufacturing, quality and materials and maintenance.

Along with that, the letter explained that some employees will work in a clean/dry room and have to wear special protective equipment which includes a clean room suit, special work shoes, a mask/respirator, safety glasses and a hat. The work environment and responsibilities will be completely different from what they were before and employees who are eligible to transfer may want to take that into account when considering their move.

I believe that allowing the crew to return to Lordstown is a good idea, but I think having the opportunity to see if it will be the same is more beneficial. Some workers may jump at the opportunity to relocate home and possibly return to their roots. However, five years is enough time to stay and create roots in a new area. Uprooting the family again to a situation that may not be as good as their current one is a possibility.

So while I applaud General Motors for giving eligible employees the opportunity to return home to their roots, I applaud them even more for giving employees a choice. Whatever they decide, I’m glad they have a choice this time.

Do you have an interesting story? Contact Greg Macafee by email at Follow him on X, formerly Twitter,


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